A successful marriage only happens when the couple is willing to work together to keep the relationship healthy. Dr. Fran Walfish — Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent, and costar on We TV's Sex Box — offers her expert advice on how great couples can make their marriage as awesome as it can be.
How great couples make their marriages soar:
- Let differences work for them. All couples are made with two different people. No two people in the world are just alike. And, after working with hundreds of couples, I'm convinced opposites often do attract. But, great couples learn to build upon those differences. They build upon each other's strengths and let each other minimize their weaknesses. "Two are better than one" . . . and great couples live this truth.
- Extend grace for the minor annoyances. Can we just be honest? People do stuff that gets on our nerves at times. That's true of all of us, even with the people — maybe even especially with the people — we love the most. Great couples have learned not to let those little things distract from the major things — like love and commitment.
- Serve each other. There are no 50-50 splits of responsibility in a great marriage. Great couples learn to sacrificially serve one another. In the best relationships, it would be difficult to judge who serves one another more. There may be times one gives 100 percent, because the other can't give anything. And there are other times the other spouse gives 100 percent. And neither complains when it's their turn to give all.
- Prioritize their time. Great couples spend time together. Life is busy for all of us. These couples schedule time together. They find things to do that each of them enjoy. And, they say no to other things that would keep them from having adequate time together.
- Keep no secrets. There are no hidden issues among great couples. They are vulnerable with each other. Both partners open themselves up to the other person completely.
- Publicly support each other. Great couples are supportive of each other in public. They don't tear each other down in public. They handle private issues in private.
- Keep no record of wrongs. Great couples learn to forgive. There aren't any lingering issues that haven't been resolved.